MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Former West Virginia University football coach Rich Rodriguez and the University of Michigan have agreed to pay a $4 million buyout and settle a lawsuit that WVU filed after he broke his contract in December.
Rodriguez will pay $1.5 million in three annual payments beginning January 2010. The Wolverines athletic department, his new employer, will pay $2.5 million by the end of July and cover Rodriguez's legal fees, the University of Michigan said in a statement Wednesday.
"To help Rich focus on the challenges ahead, we have worked with him to resolve the dispute between him and West Virginia University over the terms of his buyout," Michigan athletic director Bill Martin said. "Although he continues to disagree with the validity of the terms, Rich and the rest of us at Michigan felt that it would be best to get this distracting issue behind us."
The WVU Board of Governors held a special meeting Wednesday and approved the agreement, settling a case attorneys Tom Flaherty and Jeff Wakefield were set to try this fall.
"It's a case that should have settled a long time ago and could have settled a long time ago. It's in the best interest of everyone to resolve it," Flaherty said.
WVU will be responsible for its own legal bills, which Wakefield said "will be very reasonable."
A call to Ohio attorney Marv Robon, representing Rodriguez, and WVU athletic director Ed Pastilong were not immediately returned. Rodriguez's agent, Mike Brown, declined comment.
Gov. Joe Manchin, meanwhile, issued a statement urging an end to the acrimony.
"I am happy that this seems to be coming to a conclusion and believe, as I'm sure many other West Virginians do, that with this agreement in place, it's now time to move on," he said.
Rodriguez quit the Mountaineers in December for the head coaching job at Michigan, only a year after extending his contract with WVU. He had argued that WVU broke the contract first by failing to honor certain promises -- a charge WVU denied.
The settlement was reached on what had been a key deadline in the case. As part of the discovery process, a judge had given Rodriguez until the end of Tuesday to reveal whether the University of Michigan or anyone else had agreed to pay WVU on his behalf.
Flaherty said a document was produced, but he could not immediately divulge its contents.
Adding pressure to Rodriguez was a lawsuit WVU filed in a Michigan court last week, asking a judge to order Bill Martin and president Mary Sue Coleman to testify in depositions. A hearing on that request had been set for Wednesday afternoon.